I love Alex Castellanos. He’s a long time Republican strategist in Washington and I regularly sat with him on television back when we were on CNN together. We may disagree on a number of things, but he’s a great guy, and I appreciate his candor today. In a column, Alex writes
If Ted Cruz and not Donald Trump were to become the Republican nominee, there is increasing concern among the GOP Washington establishment, in which I confess card-carrying membership, that he would lead the GOP to ruin….
The Trump whom we see today would not be the Trump in November. Mr. Trump is not opposed to more big, old, top-down government in Washington. He is a corporatist who thinks the only thing wrong with Washington is that losers and morons, not Donald Trump, are running the place. Trump is little constrained by party or ideology. Unlike Senator Cruz, Mr. Trump would run left of Hillary Clinton when he found an opening.
Additionally, many swing and minority voters, seduced by Mr. Trump’s “tell-it-like-is” strength, make allowances for his over-heated rhetoric. They know he is saying what he finds necessary to close a deal. His hyperbolic declarations as mere “opening bids” in his political negotiations. Many voters have grown comfortable with Trump in their homes, as a man who has inhabited their televisions for decades.
Got that? Trump is more electable than Cruz and given the choice, the GOP should go with Trump.
What’s so fascinating about this is that after months and months of Republican handwringing that Donald Trump would destroy the GOP, now the establishment is headed toward, “No! Wait! Cruz would destroy the GOP.”
It’s just really striking that the establishment wing of the GOP would rather lose to Hillary or be completely reshaped by Donald Trump than back a conservative Republican who they say can’t win — just as they said Reagan could not win back in 1980.
At this point, I think we have to conclude that if the Republican Party’s top strategists are willing to openly say that the GOP should go with Trump over a lifelong Republican because of that Republican’s conservatism, the party is indeed toast already.